How to increase your income and stop struggling with debt


A recent survey by Step Change Debt Charity, found that self-employed people are struggling with debt way above their annual income.  See source article Struggling strivers: self-employed face highest debt burden”

If you are in a similar position, here are some simple steps you can take to increase your income and stop struggling with debt.


Make sure you are receiving the benefits that you are entitled to: More details can be obtained from the government’s service and information website at .

  1. Council Tax: provides help meeting your council tax.
  2. Housing benefit costs: Provides help towards your rent.
  3. Education Costs: For help with school meals, clothing or financial support for sixteen year olds staying on at school or college.
  4. Child Tax Credit: Paid to people responsible for at least one child.
  5. Working Tax Credit: Paid to people who work at least 30 hours per week.
  6. Disability Living Allowance: For people under 65 who have personal care needs or problems with walking because of a physical or mental disability.
  7. Carers Allowance: For people who regularly spend at least 35 hours a week caring for a disabled person.



  • Reclaim the infamous PPI, which in some cases was mis-sold on mortgages, insurances, credit cards and other loans. Consumer champion Martin Lewis has more details on how you can reclaim this yourself without using PPI Reclaim companies (who will take a whopping 30% off any money reclaimed). For more details, visit his website at





For more serious debt problems, do seek help as soon as possible.

  • If you are struggling with paying your utility bills, talk to your provider and ask if you can make a payment plan. Once you agree upon an amount that you can afford, do make every attempt to keep up your payments (for example paying by direct debit) otherwise they can cancel the agreement.
  • Check whether you are eligible for the Watersure Scheme, a scheme which helps some people meet the cost of their water rates. There are specific qualifying criteria, so check first to see whether you are eligible.  Please visit the Citizen’s Advice Website for further details at  then type ‘Watersure’ in the search box.



DON’T fall prey to Debt Management Companies.  They claim to write off your debt completely but will charge a fee and will add this to your debt management plan, which could prove more costly in the long run.  Click this link for further details on how Debt Management Companies operate

There are reputable service providers out there who offer a completely FREE, confidential and impartial advice:

  • Step Change: (Previously the Consumer Credit Counselling Service) Charity providing free debt advice: Helpline 08000 138 1111 or visit their website at
  • Gingerbread: Provides expert advice, practical support and campaign for single parents. Helpline: 0808 802 0925 or visit their website at
  • National Debtline: Free, confidential and independent advice on how to deal with personal debt problems. Helpline: 0808 068 6368 or visit their website at
  • Business Debtline: Free, confidential and independent advice for self-employed people on how to deal with business debt. Helpline: 0800 197 6026 or visit their website at




I’m Mary Cummings, a ghostwriter, collaborator and all round word doctor. I help business owners write and publish business books; I'm also passionate about helping creative freelancers find work that they love - their work sweet spot with work on their terms, projects they love and clients who are a dream to work for.